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Things to know if you’re moving to work in Germany

If you’re thinking about making a move to Germany, or you’ve started packing up your things already, it can be pretty daunting. You’re likely to think about being perceived as the strange person who’s “not from around here”. But don’t worry, we’re all a bit weird in our own wonderful ways.

Here are a handful of things to know if you’re heading out to work in Germany.

1. Nothing opens on a Sunday. In fact, it’s considered rude to do things on a Sunday. We’re not kidding - it’s illegal to even cut your grass on a Sunday. So get used to it being your quiet day, because German law makes damn sure of it. We all long for a calm day off, but here, that’s actually enforced.

2. Being on time in Germany is really important. To meetings, to events, to work… To everything. In the UK, when someone’s late, there’s usually a “Good afternoon” comment waiting to slip out. In Germany, it might be “Mahlzeit” - a reference to ‘mealtime’ - unless that’s being used as a general greeting, which is possible too. Confused yet?

3. Germans love their time off and you better believe there’s a strong and very thick line between work and play. In the UK, there’s often an unspoken agreement that we’ll reply to emails during our time off. We can be 5 cocktails down at the all-inclusive swim up bar and still respond to that email ping if we decide it’s important. But this doesn’t happen in Germany. Some companies even have HR policies saying all and any email received during vacation time will be deleted. Winner winner, no emails over dinner!

4. Dress code, schmesh code. Like any cool tech startup, German company culture generally has no real dress policy. It makes sense, if the vibe you’re going for is casual, efficient, and forward thinking - does your tight trouser suit really bring new ideas to the table? Probably not. It’s fun to watch the new starters slowly drop the aesthetic efforts from week one, to the point of arriving in ‘that hoodie’ again with unmatched socks. 

5. It’s common to take sick days for minor discomforts. As you read this, you may be realising that us Brits might have a bit of a toxic relationship towards work, like turning up when we’re not well. You could barely be able to make it out of bed, and you’ll still feel an overwhelming sense of panic at telling your boss that you’re “a bit under the weather”. But the average German visits the doctor 18 times a year. EIGHTEEN. Our UK office combined probably hasn’t been that many times. The bottom line? If you’re not feeling good, other people in Germany simply don’t want to be around you.

There are plenty more interesting things you’ll discover when it comes to working in Germany. A country full of culture, vibrance, and a nuanced approach to work and life that we’re simply not used to in Britain.

It’s a place where you’ll end up learning more about yourself than you’d ever have expected, especially on Sunday, when you’ll have ample opportunity to sit in silence or walk quietly around a park.

If you’re looking to make the move and don’t mind arriving to places on time, drop us a message. THRYVE’s UK and German offices are full of people who could rant and rave about Germany all day long, and better still, can find the perfect German job for you.